The Ghost of Grant Wood by Anton Yakovlev

The Ghost of Grant Wood

You point out the snowmen as we walk:
short-lived front yard companions, dressed up
in pricey scarves and elegant headwear,
all melting now in forty-six degrees.

Dali would have a field day with the hats
that slide off their earthbound silhouettes,
the button eyes now stuck into their hands,
the fallen branches making extra limbs.

A couple of snow gnomes has grown apart.
Their pitchfork stands, but they’re on their backs.
A Gucci shawl conceals the woman’s head;
the man is disappearing into soil.

Soon, vaporized by early evening sun,
both will ascend into the cooling air.
Maybe they’ll manifest again as frost
on the windows of some nearby home.

I close my eyes, lost in a fairytale:
they both end up on the same windowpane;
a child walks up, traces a Valentine.
You touch my hand. I leave the gnomes behind.

We barely speak for the rest of the night.
I pack my things and merge onto the pike.
On my back seat, the frost from the windshield
casts scars on your forgotten handkerchief.

by Anton Yakovlev

Editor’s Note: The slant rhyme in this poem carries the narrative. Read aloud, the story comes alive–imagery as sound. Disappearing snowmen become frost, which scars a forgotten handkerchief. Loss is everywhere.

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